Posts Tagged CUA

Fulton Sheen and the Playfulness of the Gospel

14 April 2015

Posted on April 14, 2015 by: Br. Innocent Smith, O.P. at Dominica Blog


This post is the second part of a series on Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

St. Philip Neri once remarked to a Dominican friar, “All that I have of good I owe to your fathers of San Marco.” Could the same be said of Fulton Sheen?

In his autobiography, Sheen speaks movingly (and amusingly) about his friendship with a certain Fr. Smith:

fjs quotes

While it would perhaps be going too far to attribute all of Fulton Sheen’s goodness to Ignatius Smith, it is striking to note the aspect of joy and good humor that Sheen associates with Smith. (Although Sheen doesn’t give any specific examples, one story that is part of the oral tradition at the Dominican House of Studies is that Ignatius Smith, a talented organist, would occasionally slip in a few bars of “Goodnight Ladies” into the recessional as the good Sisters were departing from Sunday Vespers.) Ignatius Smith was able to share a sense of joy with his friend, which Sheen in turn passed on to his students. Entering the classroom laughing, Sheen could give the whole classroom the opportunity to get in on the joke.

For St. Thomas Aquinas, the great master of Fulton Sheen and Ignatius Smith alike, the virtue of eutrapelia (playfulness or pleasantness) is necessary in order to have a proper balance in our lives and to avoid the soul becoming overburdened with seriousness. As Sheen writes in his autobiography, “[T]here is a close relationship between faith and humor. We say of those who lack a sense of humor that they are ‘too thick’; that means they are opaque like a brick wall. Humor, on the contrary, is ‘seeing through’ things like a windowpane. Materialists, humanists, and atheists all take this world very seriously because it is the only world they are ever going to have. He who possesses faith knows that this world is not the only one, and therefore can be regarded rather lightly.”

We are but pilgrims in this present world, journeying to our heavenly homeland. But we have a choice: we can be like whining children, grating the ears of their parents in the front seats with cries of “are we there yet?”—or we can entertain our fellow pilgrims with humor and good cheer.

Image: Archbishop Fulton Sheen blessing Dominican missionaries to Lebanon and Pakistan (Dominican House of Studies, Washington, D.C., August 31, 1956)

Thank you to Dominica Blog. Please visit there for so much more on Fulton J Sheen and other authentically Catholic reading.

“Causa Finita Est” – The cause is finished…

28 October 2011

Contrary to popular opinion, this is the phrase that Saint Augustine used when dealing with the Pelagian heresy. Most modern Catholics & even scholars always quote the PARAPHRASED, “Roma locuta est; causa finita est” “Rome has spoken; the case is closed.”[actual translation of “the case is closed > ita clauditur…] The modern paraphrased translation still however, applies in the case of Catholic University of America and the rights of a private PONTIFICAL University.

PONTIFICAL University…”Huh? What’s that?” Let me defer to an excellent piece by Elizabeth Scalia, a Catholic writer of notable credentials explaining what that is and the real culprit behind the attack on CUA…

CUA a Pontifical University: No Jesus-Free Places UPDATE
Oct 28th, 2011 by Elizabeth Scalia

Ali Basiri, 27, prays next to his desk in his office at Catholic University. Ali is an Iranian graduate student who came there to study electrical engineering more than four years ago. Astrid Riecken / For The Washington Post

The Catholic University of America (CUA) a Pontifical University. That means this is a school established by the Holy See, and directly under its authority. As such, it cannot be true to itself while creating “Jesus-free” spaces.

To demand that a Pontifical University create rooms and spaces where the Crucifix is unwelcome, and Catholic iconography is not permitted would be like stepping into a mosque and demanding that, because there are some Christians in the neighborhood, the mosque should install a Eucharistic Tabernacle.

The picture above shows a Muslim student praying in his electrical engineering lab. You can see a whole photo essay and read the article here.

Yeah, those Muslim students certainly look like they’re unhappy, oppressed and loaded for bear, don’t they?

During his more than four years as a graduate student at Catholic, Ali Basiri has become one of the regulars at the small chapel in Caldwell Hall, the oldest building on campus. Basiri, 27, has spent so much time in the chapel’s pews that he has befriended the organist who practices there.
…at Catholic, he has forged new ways to connect spiritually. Several times a week, the electrical engineering student makes his way past the marble statue of the Virgin Mary at the Caldwell chapel entrance and listens in the pews to Islamic prayers on his MP3 player … He has struck up friendships with equally fervent Catholic believers…It was that kind of exchange that prompted Basiri’s attempts to start a Muslim student association. He wanted to help Muslim students connect and gather for prayer in addition to helping spur conversations across religions.

He found a faculty adviser and filled out the required paperwork but heard nothing back for a while.

Then, an administrator pulled him aside and said it wouldn’t work to have a Muslim group at such a major Catholic institution.

When asked about the experience, Basiri is hesitant to say anything negative about a school that he says has embraced him so fully and given him a chance to grow in faith and academics.

“I understand the difficulty,” he said. “In Iran, if you tried to start a Catholic group at a Muslim university, that would be just as strange and hard to make it work.”

Emphasis Mine. Apparently this Iranian student has no difficulty understanding what John Banzhaf, an attorney and professor at George Washington University, cannot. CUA is not just another Catholic University: it cannot — as a part of the Holy See — create “Christ-free/Catholic-free” rooms. It must be allowed to be what it is, representing who it represents; that is the first tenet, I think, of “Freedom of Religion” — that a religion be free to be what it is. Muslim students choose to attend the university knowing what it is.

Banzhaf seems to have an obsession with the Catholic University of America, and he has filed suit against the university for “Human Rights Violations” against the school’s Muslim students.

Earlier this year Banzhaf brought suit against CUA after it announced that it would be doing away with co-ed dorms and slowly re-instituting single-sex housing. Single sex housing, apparently, is also a “Human Rights Violation” in this man’s mind. I wonder if he has brought suit against any madrassahs for putting boys and girls in separate classrooms?

And I wonder if it is CUA’s connection to the Holy See that teases Banzhar’s obsession?

Please click here to go to Elizabeth Scalia’s site to read the rest of this post…


Thank you Elizabeth for the clear and concise explanation of what a PONTIFICAL University is…

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